• Question: Mike, I was told that some types of gases leave your body when you die, Like methane for example is this true. Or do other gases come out of your body.

    Asked by 10mhaggar to Mike, Anna, Jonathan, Samantha, Sam on 3 Jul 2012. This question was also asked by hphillips102, tomeagle2, killerpigeon98.
    • Photo: Michael East

      Michael East answered on 3 Jul 2012:

      Good question, yes gases including methane do leave the body both in life and after death. Some of the gas is produced by bacteria in the large bowel. After death breakdown of body tissues can also produce gas which is flammable and potentially dangerous. The author Charles Dickins in his novel Bleak House describes a man who died by “spontaneous combustion” (gaseous alcohol on his breath caught fire).

    • Photo: Samantha Weaver

      Samantha Weaver answered on 3 Jul 2012:

      I heard that fingernails and hair keep growing after death….

    • Photo: Sam Chilka

      Sam Chilka answered on 4 Jul 2012:

      Yes, methane can leave the body after death. When I was doing post mortems it was quite common to notice a “smell” around a body, due to methane escaping.